It’s that time of year again to try and break down this years favourites into some kind of order, truth be told the #1 choice was the easiest I’ve had to make in recent years, separating #2 through #5 was a little more difficult – they are all great albums, stylistically very different but all have outstanding songs, from #6 onwards the degree of separation reduces and to be honest if I sat down with the final list next week the order could shift significantly, in the tradition of never doing it exactly the same way year-on-year this time around I’ve gone for a more straight forward chart and the number 33 seemed an appropriate choice given the top ten all found their way into my collection on vinyl (no doubt this influenced the final choices). Having already seen a number of fellow bloggers best of’s it evident there are some big name Americana acts missing from the Beat Surrender run down, as ever too much music and not enough time.
1. Jason Isbell – Southeastern
2. Camera Obscura – Desire Lines
3. Danny & The Champions of the World – Stay True
4. Neko Case – The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You
5. Caitlin Rose – The Stand In
6. Lindi Ortega – Tin Star
7. Holly Williams – The Highway
8. Sturgill Simpson = High Top Mountain
9. My Darling Clementine – The Reconciliation
10. Austin Lucas – Stay Reckless
11. Frank Turner – Tape Deck Heart
12. Chris T-T & The Hoodrats – The Bear
13. Phosphorescent – Muchacho
14. John Moreland – In the Throes
15. Frankie & The Heartstrings – The Days Run Away
16. Emily Barker & The Red Clay Halo – Dear River
17. Star Anna – Go To Hell
18. Thee Spivs – The Crowds & The Sounds
19. Doc Feldman & the LD50 – Sundowning At The Station
20. Israel Nash Gripka – Rain Plans
21. Shona Tucker – A Tell All
22. The Lucky Strikes – The Exile & The Sea
23. Laura Cantrell – No Way Here From There
24. Possessed by Paul James -There Will Be Nights When I’m Lonely
25. Amanda Shires – Down Fell The Doves
26. Frightened Rabbit – Pedestrian Verse
27. MG Boulter – The Water Or The Wave
28 Annie Keating – For Keeps
29. The Handsome Family – Wilderness
30. Paper Aeroplanes – Little Letters
31. Wynntown Marshalls – The Long Haul
32. Slaid Cleaves – Still Fighting The War
33. Lloyd Cole – Standards
I’ve been eagerly awaiting the arrival of the new album from American Aquarium and was an early sign-up to the bands Kickstarter campaign that launched back in November of last year, the album officially gets released on August 28th but I’ve being lucky enough to get a heads-up copy from the bands PR folks and I can report back it’s a real killer release and is bound to figure on the end-of-year best-of lists.
Those familiar with some of the bands earlier releases, all of which I heartily recommend (but if you have to pick one go for Dances for the Lonely) will know the band can mix it with the very best alt-country barroom bands, on this release though they distil the passion and pain, love, loss, the highs, the lows and in-betweens (tenuous link) of a band living the rock ‘n’ roll dream at the dark end of the street.
Recorded in Muscle Shoals, Alabama with Beat Surrender favourite Jason Isbell producing and featuring guest appearances from the legendary Spooner Oldham & Amanda Shires, it’s a real treat to listen start-to-finish, the band from Raleigh, North Carolina have released their finest album yet and I really hope this one, their sixth in six years gains them a wider audience.
Fuelled by fans, powered by Ryan Johnson (Lead Guitar), Whit Wright (Pedal Steel), Bill Corbin (Bass), Kevin McClain (Drums) and steered by the barroom bard frontman BJ Barham – long may they burn the candle at both ends.
Burn.Flicker.Die = Shake.Rattle.Roll
Keep an eye on the wonderful CFR for an upcoming American Aquarium feature, or better still sign up for the newsletter which keeps you up-to-date and gives you access to some extras from the featured artists too.
A Beat Surrender favourite Amanda Shires tours the UK and Ireland in April and May, the Texan fiddler-singer-songwriter is accompanied by long-time collaborator Rod Picott on guitar and Todd Pertll on lap steel.
There are also sessions planned with Bob Harris for his Radio 2 Sunday show and Barry Marshall-Everitt’s House Of Mercy whilst she’s over this side of the pond.
Last years album Carry Lightning made number seven on my Best of and remains a firm favourite.
Sat 14 Turners Hill House Concert West Sussex
Sun 15 Kirton in Lindsey Diamond Jubilee Town Hall
Tue 17 Kinross Backstage at The Green Hotel
Wed 18 Glasgow Woodend Bowling and Tennis Club
01419 591428 or 07804 447511
Thu 19 Leicester The Musician
Fri 20 Bedford Holy Moly’s at Esquires
Sat 21 Sheffield Greystones
Sun 22 Nottingham The Maze www.cosmicamerican.com
Thu 26 Plymouth The B-Bar
Sat 28 Lismore Rose’s West End Bar, Ireland
Sun 29 Carrig-On-Bannow Colfers, Co. Wexford, Ireland
Mon 30 Dublin Whelan’s (Upstairs)
Wed 2 Rathfriland The Brontё Centre, Co. Down, N. Ireland
Thu 3 Belfast McHugh’s Basement Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival
Fri 4 Kilkenny Ryans Bar Kilkenny Roots Festival
Sat 5 Kilkenny Cleere’s Kilkenny Roots Festival
Sun 6 Kilkenny Ryans Bar Kilkenny Roots Festival
Buy @ Amazon